Notes on the life of Joseph

Joseph's life is an amazing study. We can learn so much about dealing with trials, God's sovereignty, dealing with family problems, and forgiveness. Also, Joseph is a powerful type of Christ.

This is the place I plan to collect my thoughts and notes on Joseph, each time I come round to studying his life. Because of that, this study is not complete, and probably never will be complete. It is just my growing collection of notes on Joseph.

  1. Unfair trials
    1. Genesis 37:1-4 — at seventeen, Joseph had a good life.
      1. He was his father's favorite and this brought lots of privileges.
        1. Joseph received special presents.
        2. He didn't have to work as hard as his brothers. (Genesis 37:12-14)
      2. Sure, there was some friction with his brothers, but that didn't seem to bother Joseph too much.
    2. Genesis 37:5-11 — Joseph's future looked bright.
      1. Remember that Jacob, Joseph's father, had been the youngest in the family, but had still received the birthright.
      2. It was entirely possible that Joseph would get a very large share of his father's wealth.
      3. That is likely how Joseph interpreted his dreams. However, God had something much bigger in store for Joseph.
    3. Genesis 37:23, 28, 36 — Then, suddenly, God takes it all away.
      1. Without warning, Joseph goes from the good life to rock bottom (pun intended).
        1. There wasn't a much lower position than a foreign slave.
        2. He had gone from favorite son to nobody slave.
      2. Genesis 37:18-22 — However, God is still in control.
        1. Joseph didn't know, but God had used Reuben to protect him.
        2. When everything seemed to be out of control, the truth was that God was still very much in control.
        3. Yet, Joseph never knew that part of God's provision until decades later.
      3. Joseph now has no reason to hope.
        1. All his plans for the future were destroyed.
        2. The rest of his life would now be spent as a nobody.
    4. Genesis 39:1-6 — Joseph rebounds:
      1. It seems, that in all of this, when we would have expected Joseph to despair, he actually had a good attitude.
      2. God was with him and blessed him, which should indicate that his attitude toward God was correct.
      3. It is also very clear that Joseph worked hard.
      4. So after, possibly, years of work, Joseph started to make a name for himself and build a chance to have a little hope for the future.
        1. This is not what he had dreamed about, but it was better than scrubbing floors.
        2. That is, looking at what he saw, he had little hope; but looking to God to do the impossible, he could have had great hope. (Remember the dreams he had as a teenager.)
    5. Genesis 39:7-13 — Joseph is tempted by Potiphar's wife, but does right.
      1. In a very hard situation, Joseph stays true and does what is right.
      2. Had he not done right, he might never have seen God's best plan for his life.
    6. Genesis 39:14-20 — What reward did Joseph get for doing right?
      1. Joseph was slandered.
      2. Then he was knocked down even further than the first time.
        1. Now he had been left in prison to rot. He was not sentenced to 3 years: he was thrown in prison to be forgotten.
        2. Once again, he had no reason to hope.
      3. Do you suppose, that even as a prosperous servant, that Joseph was praying to God for something better, maybe to see his family again?
        1. Do you suppose that Joseph knew that being thrown into jail was an answer to his prayer?
        2. Probably not, but we can not always spot God's blessings when they come disguised as trials.
    7. What would my response be?
      1. Would I question God, After doing right why do things keep going wrong??
      2. Would I lose hope? There was nothing Joseph could see to give him hope; he only had faith.
      3. Would I give up? Notice that Joseph kept on working hard, even in prison. (Genesis 39:21-23)
    8. Genesis 40:1-23 — After some time in prison, a small glimmer of hope came along.
      1. Genesis 40:14-15 — Joseph had high hopes that the cup bearer might have been his ticket out of prison.
      2. However, it was not yet God's time.
      3. Once again Joseph's hopes fizzle out.
      4. Note that everything in Joseph's life was not as he would have predicted, or even as what seemed humanly feasible, but all was God's doing in God's time.
    9. Genesis 41:1-57 — Finally, after years of preparing Joseph through trials, God is ready to bring Joseph to His ultimate fulfillment.
      1. Genesis 41:1 — It took two more years, after the cup bearer left, before Joseph's case was finally presented to Pharaoh.
      2. Genesis 41:46 — Finally, 13 years after all of this began, Joseph's dreams are finally fulfilled.
      3. Joseph has finally reached God's ultimate plan for His life. We see that God didn't just plan to use Joseph, He also planned to bless Joseph.
        1. Genesis 41:50-52 — God blessed him with a family of his own; he was no longer alone in a foreign land.
        2. Genesis 46:1-7; Genesis 28-34 — Then God brought his whole family to him.
    10. Lessons
      1. God does bring us through trials, but He is using them for our best. God knows the end even before we reach the beginning.
      2. Even in our trials, God is still with us. (Genesis 39:2, 3, 21)
      3. Even when we can't see it, God is still in control. (Genesis 37:21-22)
      4. For the Christian, trials are temporary, but joy is eternal.